Thursday, September 17, 2015

August 2015 Book Reports

 The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids: How to Plan Memorable Family Adventures and Connect Kids to Nature by Helen Olsson covers just about anything you might want to know before camping with children. Kansas Dad and I were planning a trip to the Great Sand Dunes and this book helped me feel slightly prepared. It covers all the important topics like food and wildlife in a light-hearted tone. Highly recommended, if you intend to venture into the wilderness (or a developed campground) with children. (library copy)

1776 by David McCullough was a great book to read as the children started to study the Revolutionary War this fall. Though I expected the book to center on the Declaration of Independence and the Continental Congress, it followed George Washington much more closely than the activity in Philadelphia. Fascinating reading. (library copy)

Osa and Martin: For The Love Of Adventure by Kelly Enright was a Kansas Notable book recently. I've been interested in Osa Martin since I found From Kansas to Cannibals: The Story of Osa Johnson at the library. This book follows their adventures closely but read a bit like a list of places they went and things they did. (library copy)

The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events #8) by Lemony Snicket. The kids and I are going through this whole series. It's starting to drag a little, but now even I want to know what happens in the end. (library copy)

A Nice Little Place on the North Side: A History of Triumph, Mostly Defeat, and Incurable Hope at Wrigley Field by George F. Will - my review here. (complimentary copy from Blogging for Books)

Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus by Pope Francis, written mainly for priests, often spoke to my experience as a catechist. (purchased Kindle version when it was free for a promotion or something)

I'm pretty much caught up! Hopefully September's list will be published in a timely manner...

Links to Amazon are affiliate links. As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). My homeschooling budget is always grateful for any purchases.

These reports are my honest opinions.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

July 2015 Book Reports

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Craft Rubin is a book Kansas Dad brought home from the library and I read because I know habit formation is one of the pillars of Charlotte Mason's philosophy. I was hoping it would give me some new tools in the habit formation of my children. There is not much new in this book for those who have already thought and read much on habit formation. The main addition, I think, is her suggestion to identify the type of person you are in terms of how you decide to change your habits. Using that identification, you can sift through the recommendations for changing habits to choose those that are most likely to work in conjunction with your type. Kansas Dad, for example, is a man of logic. Convince him his life needs to change and he will change it. I'm what she calls an Obliger, which means I'm more likely to start and maintain a new habit if I feel like someone else is depending on me. Unfortunately, the book rambles a lot and the most useful tools for each type are much more difficult to find within the text than I would have liked. It's not a difficult book to read and didn't take very long, but I think it could have been cut to about a third of its length and made more immediately useful. (library copy)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming is a delightful story. I think it's recommended as a read-aloud on one of the Mater Amabilis pages, though I can't find it now. The Pott family adventures are a delight and I look forward to reading this book aloud to my children next year. I think they'll all enjoy it (from 11 down to 5). (library copy)

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll was a book I read aloud to the children over the summer. In general, I don't think we enjoyed it as much as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but it was worth reading. (library copy)

The Good Galilean by Alban Goodier is not a book on the historical Jesus, but rather one that delves deeply into the Scriptural Jesus, who he was and how he behaved in his time on earth as reported in the Gospels. It would be a good choice for reading before the Blessed Sacrament. (purchased from the publisher during one of their excellent sales)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare Made Easy) by William Shakespeare. We memorized pieces from this play last year but I didn't get around to finishing the entire play myself until the summer. I read from this Shakespeare Made Easy version which has a modern English translation alongside the original. I only read the modern version if I'm not sure what's going on but I find it helpful to have alongside. I love to read the plays when we are studying them, even if the children never hear the whole play from beginning to end. (copy requested from

The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, No. 7) by Lemony Snickett. I might post about this series when we finish it. (audio version from the library)

I'll skip the list of books in progress until I catch up on my book reports

Links to Amazon are affiliate links. As an affiliate with Amazon, I receive a small commission if you follow one of my links, add something to your cart, and complete the purchase (in that order). My homeschooling budget is always grateful for any purchases.

These reports are my honest opinions.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mind to Mind Giveaway Winner!

Here's my Rafflecopter. He's much cuter than that one you can insert onto the blog.

First Daughter likes to help with everything.

And the winner is...

Congratulations, Sally! I've sent you an email asking for your mailing address.

I hope the rest of you have a chance to read Mind to Mind.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Book Review and a Giveaway(!): Mind to Mind

Mind to Mind: An Essay Towards a Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason and Karen Glass

Karen Glass, a member of the Advisory at AmblesideOnline, has abridged Charlotte Mason's sixth volume, Towards A Philosophy Of Education, in an effort to provide a clear and concise summary of Mason's most comprehensive book.

A Charlotte Mason aficionado might gasp at an abridgement, but I think Ms. Glass has done a great service to the modern educator, at home or in a school. Her website states:
If you cannot bear to think of reading anything less than every word Charlotte Mason wrote in her original volume, this abridgment is not for you. (I confess that I fall into that category, myself.) But if you have tried to read Charlotte Mason’s volumes and found the Victorian-style prose hard going, or simply lack the time to tackle the long books, this shorter version may be exactly what you need.
Very carefully, Ms. Glass has removed references to events and people unfamiliar today while maintaining the heart of Mason's philosophy and exhortations. She has not altered any of Charlotte Mason's words, merely removed some of them. Though I am not an expert, I could find no instance where the removal of words altered Mason's assertions. Mind to Mind flows seamlessly without jarring instances where the reader notices something missing. In addition, Ms. Glass also added helpful chapter divisions and introductory paragraphs. Some sections of complete text appear in one of the three appendices.

I read Towards a Philosophy of Education years ago when my oldest was just beginning school. With four young children and a part-time job, my ability to concentrate suffered greatly. A book like Mind to Mind would have introduced me to the philosophy of Charlotte Mason without wading through as much text. I would heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in an introduction to Charlotte Mason. After reading Mind to Mind, it would be a smooth transition to read not only the complete text of Towards a Philosophy of Education, but any of Charlotte Mason's five other volumes.


With the permission of the author, I have decided to give away my review copy of Mind to Mind. It's the one I read and the cover looks like it's been carried around a bit, but the pages are clean and I didn't write or underline it in. If you'd like to enter, just leave a comment below (make sure I can contact you) before midnight Central time on Monday telling me why you'd like to read Mind to Mind. Friends and family are welcome to enter, but US addresses only. I'll use a sophisticated method to choose a winner (writing names on pieces of paper and letting my one non-literate child pull one out of a bowl).

Mind to Mind officially releases tomorrow, September 4, but I see Amazon is already shipping copies, so you can order now and have your copy in hand before my giveaway is over and the Matchbook price for the Kindle is $0, so you could start reading the e-book within a few minutes.

I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review. Links to Amazon are affiliate links, but links to the author's website are not.